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Tuesday 28th May
UAE Information - Page 1
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of the seven Persian Gulf States of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm-al-Qaiwain. The Emirates are located in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula and bordered by Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Arabian Gulf. The capital city is Abu Dhabi.

The country consists of deserts, oases, mountains and a long coastline including many islands.

The climate is very hot in the desert and generally subtropical and arid. Rainfall is infrequent, though there are thunderstorms in the winter. Humidity can be high in the coastal area.

Because of the low rainfall, very little flora grew naturally in the area. Revenues from oil have paid for the cost of irrigation and now Ras Al-Khaimah is one of the greenest of the States of the UAE.

Among the wildlife there are goats, gazelles, ibex, oryx and leopards. Birds include kingfishers, plovers, terns, owls, falcons and eagles. Over four hundred species have been recorded in the UAE, which lies on major migration routes.

Off the Emirates' coast there are coral reefs, many types of fish and the protected turtles and dugongs.

There is little fresh water and digging wells has decreased the water table resulting in more salinity in the soil. The government is concerned with the environment and has embarked on a captive breeding programme for endangered species. A satellite tracking system is used to monitor the migration patterns of various species, including falcons and dugongs.

Traditional houses along the coastline were made from mud brick or coral. In the mountains homes were constructed from wood and stone: sometimes dwellings were hewn from the mountain rock.

Large houses were built in the Islamic style with inner courtyards and colonnades to provide ventilation and sunlight. Many houses had wind-towers designed to send cooling breeze into the home.

Since the country has benefited from oil revenues modern cities have been designed by international architects and the government has provided low-cost homes. There are many dramatic structures among the hotels, offices and public buildings constructed in recent years. For example, the Officers Club in Abu Dhabi was designed by French engineers with a roof that is shaped like the wings of a falcon.

An interesting development in Dubai is the construction of the Palm Islands, close to Jebel Ali port. Buildings on the man-made islands include hotels, a business district, residential accommodation, schools and hospitals.

The population was estimated at 8.1 million in 2018. A large percentage of the people living in the UAE are foreign workers, all drawn by the oil industry, construction and commercial development.

The official language of the UAE is Arabic with English used as a second language in business. Farsi, Urdu and Hindi are also spoken.

The UAE is Islamic. There are some Christians and Hindus.

Main meals usually start with houmous, tahini or stuffed vine leaves. Bread, including pitta bread, is served and rice often accompanies the main course which may consist of chicken, lamb or fish. Dried lime and spice mixtures are used in food preparation. Other foods eaten are goats' cheese, eggs, salad, olives, honey, fruit, almonds and dates. In the cities there are Indian and Pakistani restaurants, set up originally for the migrant workers.

Sweetened milk may be drunk and other drinks are tea and coffee which is often flavoured with cardamom.

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